Lamb Shanks with White Wine Sauce and Pearl Onions


It took me a while to realize that cooking certain types of meat which I previously assumed would be difficult (like lamb!) was actually one of the easiest dinner options out there! I think for so long I didn't realize how nice a mostly "hands off" dinner can be, like the type that just involves a little sautéing at the beginning, and then gets popped into the oven to cook away.

Like these lamb shanks!

These lamb shanks with white wine sauce and pearl onions are just that type of dinner. If you're craving something fancy-ish, extra delicious, and super warm for winter, this is the recipe for you. These are SO easy, and once they're popped in the oven, they cook for a few hours and come out 100% ready to eat! These types of recipes are my favorite, as I can get some other stuff done while dinner is finishing up all on its own.

Lamb shanks

What are the best parts about this recipe?

In my opinion, these type of recipes should be in the dinner rotation all winter long. There are a few things about this recipe in particular which make it ideal this time of year.

  1. So easy! - I don't know about you, but the post-holiday fatigue hasn't exactly worn off for me yet, and this simple recipe is exactly what I need, especially on a weeknight
  2. Full of protein and fresh ingredients - this is a delicious and comforting meal, with lots of protein from the lamb, but also light otherwise and full of only fresh ingredients!
  3. Extra warm - it's been freezing in MA lately, and a super warm and cozy meal like this one has been the best thing ever

If you've never tried a lamb shank before, it's the type of meat that when cooked slowly, becomes so tender and practically falls off the bone! Plus, when cooked with the other ingredients, you'll end up with the most flavorful and naturally rich sauce out there.

Leeks and pearl onions

What other ingredients go into this recipe?

If you're not already convinced that you'll love the lamb shanks, I can promise that the other ingredients in this recipe make it truly incredible! Your kitchen will also smell unreal, which for me is always one of my favorite parts and gets me extra excited for the meal. Once you have the lamb shanks and olive oil, you'll also want to grab-

  • leeks - leeks are so versatile and delicious! they soften perfectly in this recipe and add a little something without being overpowering
  • pearl onions - my favorite underrated type of onion that look fancy, and are so tasty and sweet after being roasted in the sauce
  • fresh thyme
  • garlic
  • mint - a must with lamb!
  • salt and pepper
  • white wine - makes for the most flavorful meat and sauce
  • tomato paste - adds richness without being overly tomato-y!
  • chicken broth

Lamb shanks with white wine sauce and pearl onions

How do you start this recipe?

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and grab the lamb shanks! You'll first add the olive oil to a large dutch oven set over medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering but not yet smoking, add the lamb shanks. You can put them next to each other but just make sure the dutch oven is large enough so that the side of each lamb shank touching the bottom has enough room to completely brown. When each lamb shank picks up easily with tongs, flip it to the next side, repeating until each side is browned. You can also prop them upright too to make sure the top is browned. Something I've definitely learned from my mom is that thoroughly browning meat like this is extremely important for developing flavor, and not something you want to skip! Once browned, remove to a plate.

Lamb shanks with pearl onions

What are the next steps?

The rest of the recipe is so easy and the rest before you pop this in the oven is really fast! Grab the remaining ingredients and finish this sauté up by-

  1. Discarding any excess grease greater than a tablespoon
  2. Adding in the sliced leeks and pearl onions, sautéing them for 4-5 minutes over medium low heat until they're golden and beginning to soften
  3. Adding in the fresh thyme, garlic, mint, and salt and pepper, cooking for an additional few minutes until fragrant
  4. Pouring in the white wine and tomato paste, stirring to combine in the tomato paste and scrape anything from the bottom of the dutch oven

Then you'll grab those nicely browned lamb shanks!

Plated lamb shanks in white wine sauce

Add the lamb shanks back into the dutch oven, then cover them with enough chicken broth so that they are covered and there is about an inch of space at the top of the dutch oven. Cover the dutch oven and then these lamb shanks are all set to roast away!

How long do these go in the oven?

These lamb shanks roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but hear me out, the hands on part of this recipe is over and you are free to relax and do whatever else you like while these roast away! Also, roasting them for so long creates the most delicious sauce and tender meat out there. These are truly worth waiting for!

Lamb shank with pearl onions

Pull the dutch oven out of the oven, admire this beautiful meal, and serve immediately over mashed potatoes or as is! This is the ideal wintery dinner, and would be the perfect fancy Valentine's Day meal or easy weeknight dinner.

Recipe Details:

Servings: 3-6 (depending on if serving these alone or with a side)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes

Lamb Shanks with White Wine Sauce and Pearl Onions

These lamb shanks with white wine sauce, full of leeks, pearl onions, and mint, are fancy-ish, mostly hands off, extra delicious and cozy, and perfect for a winter meal.



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each
  • 1 cup leeks, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 2 tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 2-6 cups chicken broth, depending on the size of your lamb shanks and dutch oven


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add olive oil to a large dutch oven set over medium high heat. Once shimmering, add lamb shanks and brown on all sides (flipping to the next side when each shank moves easily with tongs), then remove to a plate.
  3. If there is more than a tablespoon of grease remaining discard it, then add the sliced leeks and pearl onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes over medium low heat until golden, then add thyme, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper, sautéing for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add white wine and tomato paste and stir.
  4. Add lamb shanks back to dutch oven, then add chicken broth, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Cover, place in oven, and roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes if you like.

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